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Romanian Migrants in the British Press: a Post-EU Accession Analysis

Keywords: British print media , (critical) discourse analysis , representation/public knowledge construction , policy-making , Romanian migrants

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Abstract:

The paper examines the construction of public knowledge about Romanian migrants in a selected corpus of press articles from the year 2011, within a new social and political context, differentfrom the pre-European Union accession circumstances. This context is defined primarily by the proliferation of transnational networks in the European Union and worldwide, the constant presence of Romanian migrants in British society, and the shift in policy orientation occasioned by the replacement of the New Labour Government withthe new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. The research questions take into consideration three main aspects that impinge upon the media construction of migrants and the problematization of migration issues: the choice between the national and the transnational angle in the representation of migrants; the use of expert or/and lay sources of knowledge; the potential impact of the newspapers' ideological commitments upon their framing of migration topics. The research objectives are twofold: an exploratory survey of themes and patterns around Romanian migrants (content analysis), followed by a micro- and macro-discursive analysis of social actor/action representation. The findings indicate that, with some exceptions, the British mainstream press continues to abide by a top-down, national(ist), expert and elite knowledge-based approach toRomanian migrants, construed as abstract problems to be tackled at policy level, through the means and in view of the goals proposed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

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